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A REACTION: EXAMINATION of WITNESSES By: Kristine Athena Monsanto In the study of law, learning theories inside the four

walls of our classroom is a great foundation to start understanding our laws. However, the knowledge we have would be more appreciated and internalized upon experiencing the real application of these laws in the real world. Remedial law, is indeed, one of the subjects that we would appreciate more by letting us immerse into the courtrooms and be able to observe firsthand how the procedural rules of court are actually carried out. In line with this, last March 14 we went to the Regional Trial Court to observe how the presentation and examination of the witnesses are conducted. CIVIL CASES For the civil cases, we went to RTC - branch 9, under Judge Alexander Acosta. I. SPS. Alba vs Bank of Commerce & Rex Carampatana For: Enforcement of Easement of Right of Way, Etc Counsel: Atty. Dante T.Ramos..............................for plaintiff Atty. Ricarte D. Maderazo........for defendant(Rex Carampatana) Atty. Marites G. Hoisapple......for defendant(Bank of Commerce) Hearing: (Application for Preliminary Injunction)Continuation of Cross Examination of defendant Carampatana 1. When I entered the court room, the hearing for the day has already commenced. At that point in time, Atty. Ramos the counsel for the plaintiff was already conducting his cross examination against the witness-defendant. It was noticeable that Atty. Ramos was only asking leading questions to the witness but the witness would want to explain further and would even come to a point that he would argue with the lawyer already. Good thing that the judge, as the moderator of the court, would always remind the witness that he is not allowed to argue with the lawyer. On the other hand, Atty. Ramos would also remind the witness that he needs only a Yes or a No answer and

that the witness would have his turn to explain during his re-direct examination with his counsel. Generally, a leading question is not allowed during examination of a witness. However, the rules of court provided that cross examination is one of the exceptions of this rule. Evidently, Atty. Ramos would like to establish in court if the witness has consistency in his testimonies and from there to be able to ascertain the truthfulness and credibility of his statements. 2. The stenographic notes have been properly utilized by Atty. Ramos during his examination. As a prima facie correct statement of the proceedings conducted in all of the previous hearings of the instant case, including the direct examination of the witness, Atty. Ramos would always go back to the transcript every time he would ask a question to the witness. Indeed, the cross examination that he made followed the rules stating that it would only pertain to issues raised during the direct examination of the witness. 3. An object Evidence, photographs of the renovation of the house (30% complete) situated on the area where the enforcement of easement of right of way should have been made, where shown in court. Atty. Ramos questioned if the pictures where not digital or electronic. He further asked who took the pictures, when it was taken, what was used to take the picture and he then asked the defendant to produce the original copies of the photos which were attached in the pleadings of the defendant. The witness confirmed that the pictures were indeed film photos and not digital. After which, they were marked as exhibits during the proceedings. It was funny though because the projector used to show the power point slides of the photos was brought by the witness himself and was not even owned by the court. I then realized that it was not necessary to have the photos projected in power point slides anymore, the original photos presented in court were enough already as object evidence provide they be authenticated in a manner states above.

4. It was the turn of the defendants counsel to make his redirect examination. Unfortunately, Atty. Maderazo moved for a postponement of the re-direct because according to him he was not paying attention to the questions made during the cross examination. That being said, he might not be able to cover the full points that he would need to cover. Atty. Ramos objected on the motion made by the defendant and the judge initially sustained the objection. The judge ruled that, the witness is already available and the re-direct will only cover the questions made in the cross examinations. Therefore, there would be no need to ask for a postponement of hearing. However, the defendant asked again if it would be okay to give him even just 10 minutes to talk to his client and check on the transcripts, the judge allowed him to check on the transcripts but not to talk to his client. Eventually, the defendant insisted that he would not be able to make his re-direct because he is not really prepared. And so, the judge just over ruled the objection of the plaintiff and moved to the next hearing the re-direct of the witness. On the other hand, Atty. Ramos asked the court for the defendant to submit the judicial affidavit of the witness 5 days before the next hearing. The court ordered for the defendant to submit the judicial affidavit of the witness before the next hearing. II. SPS. Masaganda vs SPS. Pica, et al For: Accion Reinvidicatoria and Damages Counsel: Atty. Maricar Suico Le.........................for Plaintiff Atty. Jonnah John Ungab........................for Defendant Hearing: Pre-trial 1. The highlight on this hearing as regards to the presentation and examination of witnesses, was more on the use of judicial affidavit of the witness. The witness, that was put to the witness stand, was also the plaintiff. This time, it was a direct examination conducted on the witness. The judicial affidavit was manifested in court, authentication of the document was made by ascertaining the signature of the witness on it and that it was a sworn

statement under oath. The counsel of the plaintiff, Atty. Le, was also confirming that all the statements in the affidavit was made by the witness based on her personal knowledge. After which, it was marked as exhibit. There was one thing that I have observed though, the requirement on the record of the proceedings that transpired during the time that the affidavit was made was not presented, there was no stenographic notes nor copy of the recordings presented. The other party, however, did not object. Apparently, the judicial affidavit was admitted in court. 2. A cross examination was also conducted by the opposing counsel, Atty. Ungab. It was just a confirmation on the statements that the witness had on the affidavit. In comparison with how Atty. Ramos conducted his cross, here Atty. Ungab was not really using leading questions. Atty. Ungab was more geared on letting the witness explain to the court why things happened. 3. Atty. Le conducted a re-direct examination and at the same time a rehabilitation on the testimony of her client. The counsel wanted to establish the date of awareness as to when the plaintiff had knowledge that the land in dispute was already occupied by the defendants. There was an inconsistency on the date as to when the witness-plaintiff had knowledge thereof. Consequently, the witness was confused, she had it in her affidavit year 1995 but her answers to her counsel kept on switching from 1995 to 1994 and to 1995 again. She then kept repeating the year 1994 afterwards. The plaintiffs lawyer would want to confirm which of the statement is true and make it sure that her clients memory recall would point to what is stated in the affidavit which is 1995. 4. In answer to the re-direct of the plaintiff, Atty. Ungab had a re-cross examination on the witness again. This time, there was a question asked by Atty. Ungab as to why the witness did not fence the property she allegedly bought. The witness answered, Because I will not fence a land that is not mine yet, unless the title is given to me already. Upon hearing this, I remembered our lesson in class as regards to admission against interest. Would this be an application of an admission against interest made in open court? Herein, the plaintiff seemingly admitted already that the lot was still not yet hers when the defendants occupied the lot already. After that, the

examination on the witness was concluded. No more re-direct was conducted by the plaintiff. CRIMINAL CASES We have made our observation on the criminal cases in the sala of Judge Hadjirasul, RTC- Branch 7. The way the court hearing was conducted was not really conducive for observers like us. The voices of the lawyers cannot be heard, we barely can understand what they were talking about. Nevertheless, we still continued to observed and hoped to learn how examination of witnesses are conducted in criminal cases. The following are the cases that we have observed: I. People Vs Tumulak and Salvador (detained) For: Violation of Sec 5., Art II of RA9165 Counsel: Asst. City Prosecutor Mario Gidayawan.........for Prosecution Atty. Gladys Barriga..........................for Accussed Hearing: Initial Presentation of Evidence for the Prosecution I. People Vs Medalla (detained) For: Violation of Sec 11., Art II of RA9165 Counsel: Asst. City Prosecutor Mario Gidayawan.........for Prosecution Atty. Gladys Barriga..........................for Accussed Hearing: Initial Presentation of Evidence for the Prosecution

CONCLUSION After stepping out of the Regional Trial Court, I tried to recollect all that just transpired in the court hearings. It was a great experience indeed and a reality check of what the what the future would be after we become lawyers and be part of the legal practice. Unto the first civil case, I pitied the defendant because of the incompetency of his counsel. He was even passionate in explaining his side during the cross but, ironically, his counsel was just not paying attention. This was such a great disappointment on the how Atty. Maderzo behaved inside the court

room. On the other hand, I was impressed by the way Atty. Ramos conducted his cross examination. It was like having in motion pictures the lessons that we have learned in class and watching them in action really firsthand. As to how Judge Acosta carried out the proceedings, I believe it was done fairly as well. Although, I was confused why he eventually allowed the postponement of the re-direct of the witness even if the witness was already available and it would only pertain to questions raised in the cross examinations, as stated in the rules of court. Nonetheless, the proceedings was a great help for us in understanding how witnesses are to be examined and presented in court. As regards to the second civil case, I realized that the use of judicial affidavit may even delay the court proceedings. What the counsel did was just to read and repeat all that was stated in the judicial affidavit of the witness. The affidavit would even be more prone to error and would invite inconsistencies on the testimonies of the witnesses, as to what happened in the second case. The judicial affidavit is just a duplicity of the works to be done in preparation for the hearing, when in fact all the questions can be asked directly in court in the same way in is stated in the affidavit. I must admit that this time around, our court visit was more meaningful. There was depth already in understanding the totality of the judicial system. I was not looking on the physical structure of the courts anymore, rather I was more attentive to the substance of how the court proceedings were conducted.